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Here is a novel way to eating hard-boiled eggs: With the tines of a fork crush a hard-boiled egg until finely crumbled, add 1 tsp of Za’tar (Thyme mixture available at Middle Eastern stores) and 1-2 tbsp of olive oil, and mix. Spread on warm toast. Accompany with a nice cup of tea. Yummy!

To make your own Za’tar Mixture: Stir together 3 cups of dried and ground up Za’tar (Thyme) leaves with 1 cup toasted sesame seeds; add salt and sumac to taste. A bit of citric acid may be added for additional tartness.

Tahina mixed with molasses (half and half) makes a deliciously sweet dip – for bread.

Olive oil is a must with certain dishes, e.g. Hoummos, Tabbouleh, Foule Moudammas, Labany. Middle Easterners are very particular about their olive oil; they prefer it greenish in colour, substantial in consistency and distinct in its olive aroma and flavour.

Herbs and spices play an important role in Middle Eastern kitchens.  What is Labaniyeh or Shoushbarak without the garlic and mint added at the last stage of cooking?  Chicken soup without the parsley is not what it ought to be; Laban-emu needs cinnamon for the right flavouring; Falafel cries for cumin and basil.

Preferably and time allowing, meat used in stuffings should be between raisin and grape size, not smaller – traditionally called ‘bird tongue’ size’ – for regular ground up meat tends to disappear when cooked.